Thursday, 16 August 2012

le boucher (1970) - claude chabrol

Le Boucher (The butcher) can be pretty ambiguous as far as understanding the story goes.  Behind the fact there is an unrequited love story between Popaul  the butcher (Jean Yanne) and Hélène (Stephane Audran), the village headmistress.  There are murders, suspicion, doubts, pent up frustrations and bad memories (plus 'blood, lots of blood'). Popaul is messed up from being in the army and growing up as a butchers son (and later, a butcher himself).  Hélène  is repressing herself and is single, due to an earlier relationship that has left her emotionally scarred (although she appears pretty happy for most of the film).  They fall for each other, but Popaul is rejected in his attempt to take it further, and is then suspected by Hélène of being responsible for some local murders.  She covers for him when she finds incriminating evidence, but there is a twist to this that could have been devised by Hitchcock himself. In the end, he comes to her home with a knife, and you are left to ponder at how you feel at the conclusion.  Was it her rejections that drove him to kill, or would he have done it anyway?  Does she have transference of guilt, or does he confirm that men are not to be trusted?  Does she fall for him in the end, or just feel sorry for him?   My own view (probably wrong) is that they are both messed up from their past experiences, both lonely and eager to please, but Popaul is pushed over the edge by rejection slightly sooner than he would have been without meeting Hélène.  The kiss at the end could be out of pity or just kindness being returned to someone who has always been kind to her.  What the hell, watch it yourself and make you're own mind up.  It's starting to make my head hurt thinking about it.

toodle pip

No comments: